Big Trees and Caves....oh my!

So, we were staying just outside of the Redwood National Forest in an area called Hiouchi (not sure if it's a town, place....but it's where we were staying, regardless).  This place literally shared a fence with the national park, which for us is great since although we've visited a few parks on our trip, we rarely get to actually *stay* in them because of our unique requirements (for those of you who don't know us or haven't actually met us, I'll explain a little later), so this was a rare treat for us.  I have to say that the redwoods, more specifically the coastal redwoods, are an amazing site, and very different than the typical sequoia or sierra redwoods that most people associate with the big trees.  Firstly, the sequoia are wide but not necessarily tall (we'll actually be seeing those this week while in Yosemite), whereas the coastal redwoods are very, very tall (some reaching almost 400ft).  The problem with this is that although very beautiful, they don't really photograph well :(.

Trying to capture the sheer awesomeness of these trees!

A tree that was cut down on the side of the road -- again, this thing is at least 15 to 20 feet in diameter.

A few costal shots driving through to the southern edge of the park, along the coastal scenic route.

We decided to go and visit one of the few tour through trees left, and I was bound and determined to get my freaking truck through it!

Not sure if you can tell, but with the mirrors pulled in, I literally had 1/2 inch clearance on either side!

After touring the redwoods, we heard that there was another national park/monument, that was a cave (and we looooove caves).  We decided to head north to the Oregon Caves National Monument, which was the first marble cave that any of us has ever been too.  Also, the cave had a natural exit, which meant that there were a lot of bats in and around it -- which made it difficult to get a lot of pictures since flash photography is not good for them, and therefore is restricted to the areas where they are not seen.

Entrance into the caves. 
Being a wet cave, there was a lot of stalactites and wet features. 

This is the "ceiling" of the cave in this part -- notice the marble!

A really nice column formation.

Another formation that resembles a billy goat?

There was a hole chamber full of these Davey Jones-looking structures.

The natural exit to the cave. 

Now I promised to elaborate on our issues with locating and find places to stay, and why we rarely get to stay in state/national parks anymore....I work.  I'm, unfortunately not on vacation, and therefore must always an internet connection to perform my tasks.  Also, being a pre-1974 Airstream, we don't have grey water.  For those of you who are out dry camping all the time, that's great, but we have 2 adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs (one of which is the side of an adult, being that he's 150lbs of lovable doggieness) -- you try that out with no grey tank and only a 16 gal black tank sometime!

Needless to say, we rarely "camp" anywhere that doesn't have full hookups, or at least water and electric, and most of the parks in this area are dry or maybe electric only.  When I'm not working, perhaps we could do this, or if it's just for an overnight -- but not for the whole week (which is how we roll -- week on, 1 day travel, repeat).


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